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Education Abroad

Banner of a girl in the sunrise on mountain with text that says "The only dumb question is the question you don't ask" by Paul Mccready
"The only dumb question is the question you don't ask." -- Paul Maccready

Education Abroad Programs Offered through UMaine

UMaine offers a wide variety of opportunities for students to go abroad whether that be a semester, year, summer, or internship. Students also have the choice of going on a Direct Exchange or a Recommended Program. For more information on the different programs, visit the Programs page.


Academics

Will education abroad set me back in my studies?

With proper planning, taking part in an education abroad program should not set you back in your studies. You will work closely with the Education Abroad Advisor and your academic department and college in selecting the right courses to satisfy your major, general education, and/or general elective requirements. We strongly recommend that students begin planning two semesters ahead as early planning will lead to a smoother application process.

How do my credits transfer?

The Office of International Programs and your academic department/college will approve your courses prior to departure. Grades earned abroad will show on your UMaine transcript but are not computed in your GPA. For more information visit the Transfer Credits page

Which subjects may be studied abroad?

Courses can be found to complement nearly every major offered at UMaine. Many students participate in education abroad to fulfill their major, general education, and/or general elective requirements.  Others use the experience as an opportunity to explore subjects new to them. Find more on majors and possibly education abroad locations on the Advising Guides page.


Application

When should I apply to study abroad?

Students should apply soon after selecting a program. Deadlines are October 15 for spring programs and February 22 for summer and fall programs. Direct Exchange spaces fill up fast, so we recommend applying a year in advance. Applying at least a semester in advance will give students sufficient time to prepare for the program and complete all required paperwork without additional stress.

What is involved in the application process for Recommended Programs?

Students must apply to the UMaine study abroad AND to a recommended program/exchange university. Application materials vary by program.

How competitive is the Direct Exchange program?

Direct exchange programs have a rolling admission and students are admitted until all spaces are full. UMaine can send a limited number of students (between 1 and 3 students) per semester to each partner university. Students are strongly encouraged to apply for direct exchange as soon as possible.

How competitive is the Recommended programs?

Recommended programs have much greater capacity than direct exchange. They also use a rolling admission process. Students are strongly encouraged to apply early because popular programs fill well before the deadline.

When would I hear if I was accepted in my study abroad program?

You will receive an email from the UMaine Study Abroad Team within two weeks of submitting your application. Recommended programs usually process applications within 3 weeks.


Finances

How much does an education abroad cost?

Some education abroad programs are the same price as a semester at UMaine and some are more expensive. Price is determined by the type of program, accommodations and cost of living in the country. Typically, programs in developed countries (Australia, Western Europe, Japan and New Zealand) are more expensive than programs in Africa, Asia, Central and South America, and Eastern Europe, which tend to be more affordable. For students attending UMaine at the in-state or NEBHE rate, direct exchange is strongly recommended for financial reasons because they are the most affordable options for those locations. Out-of-state students typically go abroad through recommended programs. The Education Abroad Advisor will assist you in researching these details.

May I use financial aid for education abroad?

Most federal, state and institutional financial aid can be applied to an education abroad program. Most merit scholarships can also be applied for education abroad. UMaine financial aid funds are released on the first day of the UMaine fall, spring or summer semester regardless of the start date of the study abroad program. You must plan accordingly for all expenses prior to departure before your financial aid disburses (airfare, visas, deposits). Find more information on the Finances and Financial Aid page.

Are scholarships available?

Many scholarships are available. For more information, visit the Scholarships page


General Questions

Do I need to speak a foreign language?

You can now find an education abroad program in English in almost every country. Most programs do not require language prerequisites and use English as the language of instruction. If you do study in a country where the native language is not English, we still encourage you to learn some helpful phrases!

Where will I live?

Most students choose to live in on-campus residence halls provided by their host university, though some find their own apartment after they arrive.  Some programs also offer the opportunity to live with a host family which is a great option if you’re looking for a more thorough immersive experience in your host country!

When do students typically complete an education abroad?

Students typically go abroad during their second or third year. Most programs require at least two semesters of college.  Students are advised not to take part in an education abroad during their last semester at UMaine due to academic requirements. Summer and January term study abroad programs are available also.

How long can I go for?

Students should consult with their academic advisors about how long they can be abroad. Some majors are very flexible and students can spend as many as three semesters abroad ( a year and a half) and stay on track. Other majors have many sequenced courses and only summer programs (typically 3-9 weeks) are an option.

Can graduate students go abroad?

Yes. Many of our UMaine graduate students have successfully completed an education abroad.

Can older students still take part in an education abroad?

Yes. Non-traditional students often participate in education abroad programs.

Can student athletes go abroad?

It is possible to fit an education abroad in, even with demanding athletic schedules. The key to a successful education abroad experience is early planning, with the approval of your coach and the help of your academic advisor(s), the Education Abroad Advisor, and others. Many May term and summer programs are available. Some student athletes have studied abroad after the end of their season in countries where the spring semester starts in February, like Australia and New Zealand.

Can I take dependents with me?

Some programs do allow students to bring dependents. Check with the Education Abroad Advisor for more information.

When should I begin to look for a program?

As soon as possible!  It is recommended to plan at least two semesters in advance. Contact the Office of International Programs to get started.

Can I go abroad in my final semester of college?

Students are discouraged from taking part in an education abroad program in their very last semester of college because most programs end after the UMaine commencement date. It takes time to get your transcript back so we can transfer your credits as well. Students also must seek permission from their academic department to study abroad in the last semester of college if they would like to complete any required courses for their major while abroad.


Health & Safety

What vaccinations do I need?

This depends on your destination. See the Center for Disease Control for specific requirements.

Can I go abroad if I have dietary restrictions?

Yes. Clearly note any dietary restrictions in your program forms. On-site coordinators will then be aware of your needs and may make necessary accommodations.

Can I take part in an education abroad program if I have a disability?

Yes. Disclose your disability needs to the program staff early so appropriate arrangements can be made in advance. Remember that other cultures may provide disability access in a different way. You should learn about what types of accommodation are typically provided in your host country, and be flexible and open to different ways of accommodating your disability.

  • Mobility International USA Mobility International USA (MIUSA) aspires to empower people with disabilities through international exchange, information, technical assistance and training, to ensure the inclusion of people with disabilities in international exchange and development programs.
  • National Clearing House on Disability & Exchange: This site is a comprehensive one-stop resource for people with disabilities, exchange and disability staff interested in study, work, intern, volunteer, research or teach abroad programs.

Will I have health insurance coverage while abroad?

Yes. All UMaine students studying abroad are required to purchase an international medical and accident insurance prior to departure. Most recommended programs provide the insurance plan as part of the program cost.

What are suitable locations for LGBTQ students?

LGBTQ students face some special considerations when choosing an education abroad program. Laws pertaining to sexual orientation, same-sex sexual contact, and gender expression vary widely around the world, as do popular attitudes. Cultures also vary in terms of how sexual orientation and gender identities are defined and understood. Some countries are more liberal on these matters than the U.S. and some less so. Also, there will always be pockets of difference and personal idiosyncrasies. You can find more information on our LGBTQ+ Resources page.

Is it safe to complete an education abroad?

UMaine does not approve programs in areas of political unrest or recent natural disasters. Safety information is provided prior to departure and during on-site orientation. All programs have a 24/7 on-site staff available to students in case of emergencies.


Passport

All students who want to complete an education abroad must have a valid passport for at least 6 months after the end of the study abroad program. Visit the Passports page.


Visa Information

What is a visa?

A visa is an entry/residence permit and official permission granted by the authorities of a country via its embassy or consulate in the U.S. It is usually a special stamp printed on a passport page. For most countries, you will need to obtain a student visa for a semester-long study abroad program. Not every country requires a student to obtain a visa. Some summer programs do not require a visa.

Visa regulations change frequently, and it is the student’s responsibility to stay updated on requirements and deadlines.

What is a residence permit?

Some countries require students to obtain a residence permit upon arrival in the country rather than apply for a visa in advance of traveling. Most countries charge a fee for obtaining the residence permit.

Do I need a visa for my study abroad program?

Once you get accepted into your study abroad program, visa information will be provided to you.

When to start the visa process?

The visa is the last step of the study abroad preparation process. However, students must research the process early on to be aware of requirements and deadlines. Delaying the visa application process until close to the start of your program is strongly discouraged.  Most consulates do not allow students to apply any earlier than 90 – 120 days prior to departure. It is strongly recommended to allow 4-6 weeks for visa processing time.

What would I need?

In order to acquire a visa you must have a valid passport and a letter of admission from your study abroad program. Some countries have additional requirements such as a medical exam or certification of finances and/or proof of insurance. For most countries the student must leave the passport at the consulate during the processing time. You may be required to travel to Boston, New York, or to another consulate (if you are an out-of-state student at UMaine) to apply for the visa in person. You may also have to appear in person to pick up your passport after the visa has been issued. Visas can be free or as expensive as $550.

Where can I find accurate information about my student visa?

Information on applying for a visa may be obtained by contacting your host country’s consulate or embassy in the U.S. Check these websites for the phone number of the consulate that has jurisdiction over your place of residence: www.embassy-worldwide.com or www.embassy.org/embassies.

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